The Great Salt Lake, Utah – Blinded by the Sun

07-11-2006-85_editedEvery picture tells a story. This one is about the time I nearly lost my eyesight.

It was taken on Antelope Island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake, Utah. I’d presumed the salt lake was in the middle of Salt Lake City – I’m not sure what would lead me to that assumption – but it actually resides in an isolated spot a few miles north of the metropolis.

It had been a long day of driving by the time we arrived and there was just one hour before access to the park was closed. Entry by car is along a thin causeway that cuts across the water and eventually stops at the middle island, which although known as Antelope Island is more famous for the wandering bison.

Before reaching the middle we got out for a walk besides the lake shore. In the half-light with not a sound and barely a ripple on the water there was a distinct otherworldly feeling to the Great Salt Lake amplified by the perfect mirror image of the surrounding mountains on the lake’s surface.

Writing at the time for another blog post I tried to neatly encapsulate the ghostly, almost spiritual nature of the lake with one word. I settled for ethereal. It seemed fitting although it was a word I’d always seen associated with the likes of the Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and a glut of long since forgotten Shoegazing bands. This was no place to be starting at your feet though.

Once at the far side of Antelope Island things suddenly brightened up as the sun was still clearly visible way out west. We perched ourselves on a rock and watched as the sun descended aggressively under the far-off mountain range, shifting colour frantically and leaving us in darkness in a matter of minutes.

I caught the whole thing on camera, able to witness the different tones and shades of the sky and lake as the sun disappeared. It was a stunning sight, made even better by the fact we were seemingly all alone bar the odd bison. I became so mesmerised by the whole scene that my brain momentarily stopped functioning. It’s the only logical explanation I have for failing to protect my eyes.

Soon after I began seeing black spots in front of me and developed a raging headache. Slight panic ensued – I’d not yet seen Monument Valley at this stage after all – so I stopped at the nearest Kmart pharmacy for advice. Not having a cure for stupidity they couldn’t do much for me, except recommend wearing shades. There were no long-term side effects thankfully and the trip wasn’t blighted by astronomical medical bills, but I will never be able to think of the Great Salt Lake without my brush with blindness. That and Liz Frazer.

07-11-2006-52_edited

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